| USA TODAY
A youth football season in Wichita, Kansas has been canceled in the wake of a fatal shooting.
Capital Sports Institute, which operated the Wichita Youth Football league, announced the decision on Facebook early Thursday morning.
“This youth football league was developed with a genuine hope to change the culture surrounding youth football in Wichita,” a statement from the executive board read. “To give inner-city children the opportunity to play under the lights on turf fields, with large crowds cheering them on to victory. To allow those children to feel cared for, important, and worthy. To give families a safe, secure environment where their children can learn to play sports. To allow the Wichita youth some time to simply be kids in the midst of a global pandemic.”
Capital Sports made the cancellation hours after an at-large suspect allegedly shot and killed 31-year-old Marquell Nolen of Wichita with a handgun snuck into Stryker Sports Complex, according to the Wichita Police Department.
The league, for players in grades 1-8, said consistent fights, arguments and littering led to a permanent police presence and heightened security at games.
“As a league, we can no longer safely continue with the 2020 season, as it is clearly too dangerous for the children and families of this city. Our pleas and desires to change the culture of youth football in Wichita have consistently fallen on deaf ears. … It is our genuine hope that as a city, as a people, as a culture, we can and will do better.”
Officers on scene responded to the shots fired around 9:30 p.m., per police, following a verbal altercation on the west side of the stadium’s bleachers. Nolen succumbed to his injuries and died at a nearby hospital.